Trending News Today: Most Americans Blame Pharma for Drug Cost Growth

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

Although the rise in electronic health records has provided convenience and increased health care, the creation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) has made it difficult, at times, for patients to gain access to these records, since health care providers have been careful about releasing information, reported The Washington Post. A new report by the Government Accountability Office, however, found that the concern over sending records is warranted. According to the report, in 2015 alone, 113 million electronic health records were breached, an enormous jump from the 12.5 million in 2014. These figures are staggering, considering in 2009 the number was less than 135,000. Furthermore, the amount of reported hacks and breaches that affect the records of at least 500 people jumped from none in 2009 to 56 last year, according to the Post. These cyberattacks on health records are increasing because they are valuable for use or sale.

A POLITICO-Harvard poll found that Americans blame the pharmaceutical industry more than any other health care sector for the rise in drug costs, according to Politico. Although this belief was found among both Democrats and Republicans, it was stronger among Democrats. Furthermore, the poll revealed that Americans favor the creation of a public option in the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Fifty-four percent favor adding a government-sponsored health insurance option, with three-quarters of Democrats backing the idea as well as 52% of Independents. News regarding Martin Shkreli jacking up the price of an AIDS drug by 5000%, and Mylan raising the cost of EpiPens up to $600 a pair, has only fueled these beliefs. The poll results suggest that Americans are viewing them as a profit-hungry industry, according to the report.

The FDA approved a long-awaited automated insulin pump geared towards patients with type 1 diabetes. According to The Wall Street Journal, Medtronic PLC’s product, called MiniMed 670G, combines 2 devices that attach to the outside of the body, delivering insulin through a tiny tube that is inserted under a patient’s skin, and a sensor that monitors blood glucose levels. The monitor signals to the pump when to increase or decrease insulin flow, in order to keep the blood sugar in a healthy range, reported the Journal. The device is not fully automated, and it does require users to enter their planned carbohydrate intake at each mealtime, and adjust the sensor twice daily by taking finger prick tests. Physicians and patients are calling the device an important breakthrough in the control of type 1 diabetes, according to the report.